A great feature of Aeroplan is the ability to include a stopover in your trip using the “multi-city” search option. For flights in Canada and continental USA (25,000 long-haul and 15,000 short-haul “fixed mileage”) you can book either an open-jaw itinerary or one with a stopover. The stopover can be of any length. This is a great way to get some added value for your miles. It also makes for some interesting destination combinations.
Last year I took a trip on Aeroplan miles Halifax to San Francisco and Orlando. I spent 4 nights in each place. Taxes and fees were around $200 and the cash fare for the ticket would have been around $800+. This took the same amount of miles as a trip Halifax to Toronto.
Here are a few sample itineraries I found today:
Halifax to New York and L.A.
These flights are all on United Airlines. Avoiding Air Canada means lower taxes and fees.
Nov. 21 Halifax – Newark (non-stop)
Nov. 24 Newark – Los Angeles (non-stop)
Nov. 30 Los Angeles – Halifax (connect in Newark)
Taxes and fees: $77.36
Cash fare: $708
Sydney to Toronto and Vancouver
Oct. 9 Sydney – Toronto (connect in Halifax)
Oct. 15 Toronto – Vancouver (non-stop)
Oct. 21 Vancouver – Sydney (connect in Toronto)
Taxes and fees: $227.43
Cash fare: $1047
Fredericton to Calgary and Austin
Oct. 12 Fredericton to Calgary (connect in Toronto)
Oc.t 16 Calgary to Austin (connect in Houston)
Oct. 22 Austin to Frederiction (connect in Toronto)
Taxes and fees: $288.79
Cash fare: $1560
Planning a trip around Aeroplan availability requires diligence. It’s easy to get discouraged but if you keep checking you might eventually find something that works, though you may have to settle for less than ideal connections. The key is to snap it up before it disappears. If you are planning a trip far in the future try to check availability early and often and hope for the best. Here are some examples of Aeroplan availability on popular travel dates from Maritime airports:
Dec. 26-31 Halifax – San Francisco
Mar. 11-18 Moncton – Fort Lauderdale
June 30-July 9 Halifax – Calgary
Although it isn’t always easy, it’s possible to get good value for your Aeroplan miles.